Sunday, April 5, 2015

Putting The You In Eulogy


The other day I had some time to kill, so I thought it might be fun to write my eulogy. My plan was to keep it short and sweet with a few laughs, and meaningful experiences for good measure. I know my brother would be happy to deliver my eulogy, as he gave a hilarious toast at our wedding, not to mention our boys' Bar Mitzvahs. Even my mother-in-law said that my brother's toast was the highlight of her grandson's Bar Mitzvah. 

I suspect that my brother has already started writing my eulogy, but I wanted to ensure that at least part of it was about me. Suddenly, I drew a blank. I didn't know where to begin, so I did some research when I happened upon Eulogies Made Easy. This fascinating book by Margaret Marquisi and Rev. Mark Long promises all of the answers to even the most delicate questions. Below are some of the highlights of what Eulogies Made Easy has to offer according to their website.

  • How to write a eulogy for someone you were never close with - and how to make the very best of this situation (and still come off as 100% respectful and genuine).
  • How to 'burn' your eulogy speech into your brain to have razor-sharp mega-memorization - so virtually no cheat sheets are needed.
  • 12 coveted tricks on how to avoid crying and breaking down during the speech - but also when and where it's accepted and completely healthy.
  • You'll also receive 300 Funeral Poems. 

    Well, my brother will certainly have his work cut out for him, between the cue cards for crying, the poetry reading, and especially making the speech come off as "100% respectful and genuine."  Hopefully, all of this will be accomplished after many more years of getting to know me better. In the meantime, I've already started contemplating my headstone, which could also double as a festive funeral poem, "She ate, she slept, and after all was through, she made a number two."

    *A Repost from 2012


    1. GEM JULIE ~
      Wow! All this light-hearted talk about a death that hasn't even happened yet... You know, this sort of thing makes a lot of people uncomfortable. Plenty of folks take this subject pretty seriously and so they're not going to appreciate this flippant approach to a topic that is deadly serious.

      I'm not one of those people though, so it's OK.

      >>... "...she made a number two."

      Ha! Actually, Julie, in my book, you're number one!

      I once made a 4 or 5 cassette tape series of music (90-minutes per tape) that I wanted played after I die when people gather to remember me (and celebrate the peace and quiet to come). I titled the tapes: "Music To Wake The Dead".

      But too much time has passed and I'm still here, so now all the music on those tapes will just seem really old and boring. I should have slipped and fallen in the bathtub back when those songs were still fresh and exciting.

      ~ D-FensDogG
      'Loyal American Underground'

      POSTSCRIPT: My last comment on your blog contained every bit of Yiddish I knows. I blew the whole thing in one blog bit. Probably should have saved one or two of those words to impress you with later.

      1. Stephen - Maybe you should consider converting those tapes into CD's, and doing something with it. You've already chosen a terrific title, and I have no doubt it's the perfect playlist. Seriously, you should run this idea past some of your more knowledgeable blogger buddies, and maybe you can combine "Music To Wake The Dead" with an upcoming novel or audio-book.

        This is the second time you've mentioned falling in the bathtub. Did you not take me up on my suggestion to wear a Life Alert pendant? As for the Yiddish, I showed my hubby your comment, and he pointed out that it was actually in Hebrew. So now the secret's out that I was a Sunday School dropout. In other words, you're even more impressive than either one of us thought! Hope you had a happy Easter! Thanks for always making me laugh, Stephen!


      2. "And the cat came back the very next day..."
        I hope you don't mind, GEM JULE. (And I hope you recognize that line o' lyric, otherwise I'll seem crazy... er.)

        Glad you liked the tape series title. (I was kind of proud of it myself. I don't strike gold very often.) The songs are too much related to me personally to be much good at another person's wake. I can't even remember what's on them anymore, except that I would bet the million dollars I don't have and never will have that the very first song is 'SPIRIT IN THE SKY' by Norman Greenbaum. I love, Love, LOVE that song! (I'm pretty sure 'HE AIN'T HEAVY, HE'S MY BROTHER' by The Hollies must be on one of those tapes somewhere too.)

        No Life Alert pendant, but I DID buy some no-slip bathtub appliques to cover the tub bottom with. Couldn't find black dagger or machine gun shapes but I did find just plain white, strips. (At least they aren't pink daisies.) Now, if I can just sober up long enough to apply them to the tub.

        Hebrew, right. You showed it to your "hubzam" (as Cherdo says)? Dang! You really were impressed, huh? Now to undo the impression...

        I'm not even totally positive what the difference is between Hebrew and Yiddish. I'm under the impression that Hebrew is the more classical, scholarly form, while Yiddish is more a common, popular vernacular. (Sort of like William Shakespeare Vs. Jack Kerouac.) How'd I do?

        I must confess, I got that Hebrew and the English translation ("Next year in Jerusalem") from a pamphlet written by a guy named Zola Levitt and titled 'The Miracle Of Passover'. That, and another one by him ('The Seven Feasts Of Israel') were given to me by a guy I worked for in 1993 and early '94.

        I read them, and it was like Greek to me (or Hebrew, or Yiddish, or... Shakespeare). Then "something" happened to me - some Spiritual thing - on (by coincidence) this very day, exactly 21 years ago. The next time I read the Levitt pamphlets, I was totally blown away and have embraced the famous Passover saying - "Next year in Jerusalem" - ever since.

        One of the two best friends I've ever had, Marty, was Jewish, and I remember when his family would prepare for Passover. I really didn't understand what it was all about back then (I wasn't raised with any knowledge about the Old or New Testaments), but I was fascinated by the tradition of it. (No one loves and performs more "traditions" than I do - I've driven friends and family batty with all my personal traditions.)

        My buddy Marty ("Rhymes with party", he used to say) was killed by a car thief in 1989. I was so torn up over that I couldn't bring myself to go to the intersection where it happened for 22 years. (I did visit his gravesite numerous times though.)

        You ever see the movie 'MARTY' with Ernest Borgnine? He and I used to do that shtick a lot: "What do you want to do, Stephen?"
        "I don't know, Marty, what do you want to do?"

        This website is missing at least one, maybe two, of his credits. I gotta try to fix that one of these days:

        Speaking of music tapes, he and I used to record them for each other. He once made a tape titled 'ODE TO STEPHEN T. McCARTHY' and it was a collection of songs that he felt described me and made him think of me. Side One was nothing but Simon & Garfunkel's 'I AM A ROCK' over and over again for 30 minutes!!! [Yeah, laugh it up, funny party boy!]

        I invited him to a party and he wound up in the corner with this girl who would, a year or two later, become MY girlfriend. He was a lot faster'n I was!

        I wrote about Marty a number of times on my old, defunct 'STUFFS' blog. I still miss him a lot and think of him often.

        I better go, I'm turning this humorous blog bit of yours into a downer.

        ~ D-FensDogG

      3. Stephen - I just listened to "And the cat came back the very next day." I don't know how I missed this song before. The intro reminded me of, "Hit the road, Jack." I liked the other songs you mentioned on your playlist too. On another note, Hebrew is an ancient language, and Yiddish was more commonly used for Jews to communicate throughout Europe. Sadly, less people speak Yiddish today. My mother-in-law is 92, and her and my hubby still speak Yiddish together. She also speaks Hebrew, Russian. and English. A few years ago, I wrote about a few Yiddish words for A to Z. I might bring back a post or two, later in the alphabet.

        I'm very sorry about your friend Marty. How sad that he died so young by such a senseless act. It sounds like he made you a fantastic mix tape. I'll have to read about Marty after A to Z is over. A great friend like that is irreplaceable, but I'm sure he's smiling down on you, Stephen.


    2. Excellent post Julie, a word I wouldn't have thought of.

    3. Julie,

      I did a self-eulogy once too. I opened with a Bob Seger tune:
      "Late last night I heard the sound of thunder. How far off, I sat and wondered? Started humming a song from 1962. Ain't it funny how the night moves... when you got nothing left to lose... and Autumn coming in..."
      (something like that, Julie).

      BUT, what if I didn't die in August or even near the time of Autumn? There goes a perfectly good song! I neared a moment of desperation... picking a more universal song, that included any time, any place. Who to do, what to do?

      Lo, and behold! Your post emerged from outta nowhere! This is great and I'll be sure to give you 'credik,' once my research is done. Yes,thanks to you and your amazing resources, I think this song will work: "Shake It Off," a novelty by Taylor Swift. So there you have it!

      I love making cue cards - this will be great!

    4. I would never have thought to do this. Hope it's many more years before you need this.

    5. 'A deadly serious topic'...couldn't help but LOL. As they say, me thinks you have opened a can of worms...for some... I'm not one. You see as a Family Historian/Genealogist much of my time has been spent in cemeteries, taking photos of headstones and writing about the deaths of not just my ancestors but complete strangers. Gotta have a sense of and your that!

      My tombstone will read...Here lies Sue, she DID herself in. May she rest in pieces!
      (explaination...I am a notorious 'OverDoer' of everything I take on....and I am a Professional Quilter.)
      Sue at CollectInTexas Gal
      AtoZ 2015 Challenge
      Minion for AJ's wHooligans

    6. Delores was a sitter
      a sleeper and a quitter.
      When death looked and saw her there
      asleep in her favourite chair
      he hung his head and wandered on
      exuding a despairing air.
      "Late again" he mumbled.

    7. I'm good with comedy, which is why I fear I'd make a eulogy TOO lighthearted. To the point that it's like open mic night except no one's laughing because come on, man, show grandma a little respect and stop talking about how she smelled like mothballs and cheese.

    8. I have been asked to write and deliver a few eulogies. Although it is very hard, it is an honor to speak about someone I loved and will forever miss. I think it is very important to speak of the lighter moments of one's life because theses are the memories that give comfort to those in attendance. Today, instead of saying funeral, people use the expression, "celebration of life", and I agree that is what it should be.

    9. If I wrote my own everyone would think I was nuttier than I already am, but I'm game lol

    10. Three hundred funeral poems - well, that's a bonus.
      Julie, that is absolutely hilarious!

    11. I've never had to write a eulogy, but to write my own? Well, although that could be considered morbid, I think it would fun. :P

    12. I was asked to do a eulogy; it was very sad. A neighbor and great friend had died in an accident. I slipped up and accidentally said we "called Pastor (Bruce _____)" by the wrong name - I said Bruce Springsteen. It got a huge laugh, and I recovered by saying that if anyone did have Bruce Springsteen's number, I'd call him, too.

      Never agree to do another eulogy...usually, when asked, I respond with, "What are you thinking?"

    13. Where was this when I had to deliver my brother's eulogy last July? I made most of them laugh, and my best take away is that we both had a bad haircut.

    14. Can't you save him the bother by outliving him? It shouldn't be that difficult what with you being a woman and everything.

    15. You can only imagine what my funeral would be like. Even though I plan on being cremated (NOTE: I hope I'm dead when that happens), I think I'll still have a wake (aka "Excuse For Surviving Family Members To Booze It Up Afterward"). If I do (frankly, I wouldn't know), I want a speaker put in my coffin that will be activated when someone kneels. When they do, they'll be greeted with a pre-recorded (of COURSE it will be PRE-recorded because I will be...dead) message of, "Hey, thanks for coming, really. Don't I look natural? By all means, try those little ham and cheese rolls later on at the reception. And, don't forget to tip the guy at the bar."
      I hope Mrs. Penwasser hooks me up with this. Cause, I'll probably have enough trouble where I'm at trying to stay cool.

    16. Hi Julie - well you touched a happy chord here ... everyone's having fun - and I wonder how many of us will go off and write up our own ... I think your brother just needs the 'Old Broads Waxing Poetic' book .. to give your audience lots of laughs. Cheers Hilary

    17. My brother could read all the crazy cards I've ever sent him for my Euology. That would be a hoot. Especially the ones on farting and picking noses.

    18. I don't think I would write my eulogy but power to you. I never thought so much thought went into this unless the person was a real horses petoot. I hope people laugh during my eulogy:)

    19. Yvonne - It's much better to focus on positive things. Thanks Yvonne!

      Dixie - Night Moves is great, but Shake It Off is more versatile for any time of the year! Taylor Swift will also get the crowd moving. You don't want a bunch of stiffs at your funeral! This was fun, Dixie! Keep me posted, but please plan on sticking around for a long, long time.

      Natalie - I'm not planning on going anywhere anytime soon. This article just struck me funny. Thanks Natalie!

      Sue - "May she rest in pieces" is very clever! I didn't know you were a quilter and a genealogist, Sue. I love how you combine the two by helping people piece their lives together. I can barely keep myself together! Thanks Sue!

      Delores - Talk about cheering a person right up! I'm glad you have the perfect poem at the ready for any occasion, Delores! Now you know that none of this is true, and we need you around for a very long time. You're extremely witty and entertaining, and we would all be lost without you. Besides, your hubby would get awfully hungry if you were gone.

      B & B - At a recent funeral, my mom loved that the woman's son gave her a thoughtful and loving eulogy, and told my brother not to make any jokes at her funeral.This didn't make sense, because my mom has a great sense of humor. I think after someone lives a long life, you could still honor them in a thoughtful and humorous way. Maybe the mothball comment might strike a nerve, but I still think you would both deliver wonderful eulogies.

      Arleen - It's an honor that you've been asked to deliver eulogies, though it must have very difficult to say goodbye to your loved ones. I agree that humor is key in helping families deal with their grief. I'm sure that you've given wonderful eulogies, that were a huge comfort, Arleen.


    20. hope this eulogy won't be needed for many years to come. I just want some decent music played - not sad organ stuff. I'm thinking "Take It Easy" by the Eagles, etc.
      so think about your soundtrack too.

    21. Pat - A little nuttiness goes a long way! Take the time to write that rhyme, Pat!

      Alex - I couldn't believe when I found the excerpt to this book! 300 funeral poems does seem a bit excessive!

      Debra - Maybe a destination funeral would be better. On second thought, a destination birthday party might be a tad more fun!

      Chrys - I wouldn't waste any time on it. You've got a lot more living to do, Chrys!

      Cherdo - I'm so sorry you lost your friend. It must have been very difficult for you to give the eulogy. Sounds like you quickly recovered with the Bruce Springsteen quip. It says a lot that you would be asked to deliver a eulogy in the first place.

      Joanne - I'm sorry to hear about your brother. It sounds like you gave him a spectacular send-off. Of course we always have the worst haircuts during important events.

      Gorilla - Oh, I don't think he'd consider it a bother. Though my dad died when he was only 48, most of my mom's closest friends' husbands have outlived their wives.

      Al - Because my husband doesn't believe in cremation, and I also fear being cremated alive, I have decided to donate my body to science. I am worried about all of the snickering and comments like, "Boy, did she really let herself go, and honestly would it have killed her to shave her legs?" I love your idea for a pre-recorded message, Al! Now please take care of yourself, so this doesn't happen until we're in our nineties.

      Hilary - Thanks for the shout-out for Old Broads Waxing Poetic! That's the best compliment of all to know that our book made people laugh! Thanks again Hilary!

      Shelly - I think you've meant a lot more to your brother than that, but it's a good start, Shelly!

      Birgit - I'm not really going to write my own eulogy. I'd like to skip the whole funeral part too. This just struck me funny in a morbid sorta way!

      Joanne - Take it Easy is perfect for a serene send-off! In the meantime, we both have a lot of living to do, Joanne!


      1. When I first broached this idea to my sister, she was horrified. She said, "You'll give heart attacks to all the old people!" To that, I responded, "You do realize that WE'RE the old people now, don't you?"

    22. I believe that's one of the hardest things to deal with when a loved one dies. So many memories.

    23. But of course there are three hundred funeral poems. Actually, we do look to the poets in times like these, don't we? At least I hope MY brother looks up a poem to recite instead of saying what he really thinks of me at my funeral. Ha!

    24. I'm laughing. My brother and I joked down similar lines after he gave a eulogy for a great Aunt who wasn't so great. Faking tears can enhance the speech too, we'd decided. I love the addition of Funeral Poems. Thanks for the afternoon laughter, Julie. Twisted E posts are the best.

    25. I thought a eulogy was supposed to be a tribute by someone to the deceased person, not something the deceased person wrote about themselves.

    26. I can't imagine writing my own eulogy, I think I'd find it too awkward and end up starting 'She wasn't that great really...'

    27. Can't say as I've thought of my own Eulogy. I have delivered them for brothers and helped my mother write them. That was hard.

      Sia McKye Over Coffee

    28. I'm not sure what I would say for my own eulogy. That sounds like an interesting book.

    29. With all the writing I've done in my life I've never thought of writing my own eulogy. I think I'll leave it for my kids to labor over!

    30. I'm starting to think about what I would do for my dad's eulogy. But I think he has been thinking about it for a long time. He provided me his 'Life And Times' memoir. As I read through it I realized I hadn't known my dad as well as I thought... Writing is a great way to help people understand what makes you tick, and therefore write a kick-butt eulogy for you when the time comes!

    31. I would have struggled over what to write and never would have thought to look for a "how to" book. Of course there is one. And it's "fantastic!!" Makes me want to live forever so no one has to stress about coming off %100 respectful and genuine ;)

      You can find me here:

    32. JL - Sad but true. That's why all of these ridiculous distractions might help ease their pain. At least that's what the book wants you to believe.

      Luanne - Maybe our brothers should get together, though I know he'd have many wonderful things to say about you, Luanne!

      Robyn - Glad you're brother's already had some practice. Us twisted alphabet gals have to stick together! Thanks Robyn!

      Jo - Of course it is. This was all written in tongue and cheek, though I really did find this book on the Internet.

      Julie - I'm sure you're not giving yourself enough credit, but it's still a real attention grabber!

      Sia - It must have been very difficult delivering eulogies for your brothers. I'm so sorry for your loss, Sia.

      Daisy - Anyone would be proud to read from your beautiful collection of poetry, Daisy.

      Tawnya - Thank you for appreciating my eloquent funeral poem! Hahaha!

      Karen - It's the least they could do several decades from now.

      Gal - It's great that your dad wrote his memoir! I hope that he's in good health, and you can share many meaningful discussions about the things you didn't know.

      Clarabelle - I think you're on to something! Let's all plan on living forever so none of us have to worry about any of this nonsense! I'm glad you're not buying the "respectable and genuine" bit for a second!


    33. LOL you should write the Eulogies Made Easy book. It would be a best seller for sure.

    34. Laughing here, too! I'll buy your Eulogies Made Easy book if you follow Julie's suggestion.

    35. Loving your poem at the end. Reminds me a bit of a baby t-shirt I once saw - "I coo, I poo and that's all I do."